Monday, 29 January 2018
Mary Alexander – Meet me at the Waldorf: the extraordinary story of two iconic hotels built on Astor feud, fortunes and art patronage
Immortalised in Cole Porter’s lyrics “You’re the top! You’re a Waldorf salad”, the Waldorf Astoria hotel, New York was ‘home in New York to the stars’, international celebrities and world leaders. Built at the height of the Depression and famous before it opened, its glittering Jazz Age interiors were created by leading European designers, artists and sculptors. We will explore the intriguing story of the hotel’s equally iconic predecessor on Fifth Avenue, in its heyday the place to meet and be seen, where high society paraded in the latest Parisian fashions in Peacock Alley, and where business tycoons and acquisitive art collectors such as J P Morgan and Henry Clay Frick met to ‘do deals’ - finance or art, before it was demolished in 1929. This lecture recreates the stunning interiors of both hotels, the personalities who created them, and the stars who met, feasted and lived there.
Monday, 26 February 2018
Alan Read – The Elgin Marbles: A History of Meaning
On 7th June 1816 the House of Commons voted funds to buy the collection for the British Museum. The most significant part of the collection were the sculptures of the Parthenon in Athens and the lecture will begin with a description of these sculptures and why they are so celebrated. How Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin ‘acquired’ them will be considered and the task of bringing them to London. Finally, the proceedings of the Select Committee will be described and the personalities who appeared for and against the purchase. It was a controversial decision then – and it remains so still.
Monday, 19 March 2018
Peter Warwick – Aqua Triumphalis: Power & Pageantry on the Thames. Celebrating the cultural history of London’s Royal River
The River Thames was London’s ‘grandest street’. A public stage for Royal, national and civic ceremony and celebration for five hundred years. Through artist’s interpretations and by looking at some of the great events that took place on its silvery waters, such as Anne Boleyn’s coronation, Lord Nelson’s funeral and the Lord Mayor’ s annual pageant, the lecture paints a fascinating story of a liquid history flowing at the heart of Britain’s story. It draws upon a wealth of fascinating material rarely seen and concludes with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012 and the story of Gloriana, The Queen’s Row Barge, with which the lecturer is intimately involved.
Monday, 23 April 2018
Andrew Davies – We are Amused: A Look at Victorian Entertainments
Contrary to popular myth, the Victorians knew very well how to entertain themselves. From the music hall to the circus, from the enormous expansion in theatre to the development of organised sport, novels, magazines, new art galleries, toys, board games and cards - what a wonderful cornucopia
Monday, 28 May 2018
Ann Clements – Australian Impressionists
Aboriginal art is now widely appreciated but other Australian painting is largely unknown. Yet in 1889 the “9 x 5” exhibition, held in Melbourne, is now regarded as a pivotal moment in Australian art. It included works by Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and and Charles Conder. The trio became known as the Australian Impressionists.
By leaving their studios to paint in the open air at a series of camps outside Melbourne they opened the public’s eyes to the beauties of the landscape and established an authentic Australian approach to painting for the first time.
Monday, 24 September 2018
Lois Oliver – Manet and Music
Music was a constant theme in Edouard Manet’s life and art. His wife Suzanne Leenhoff was a gifted pianist, and regular musical soirées were held at the Manet family home. His pictures of musicians and their audiences range from major early canvases depicting itinerant gypsy musicians and Spanish dancers, through to paintings encompassing the full range of Parisian musical culture, from private performances to street entertainment, café concerts and the Paris Opera. Manet also designed cover illustrations for music composed by his friends. This lecture brings together Manet’s art and the rich range of music that inspired him, from Spanish flamenco, to Haydn string quartets, Wagner piano transcriptions and café songs.
Monday, 29 October 2018
Barbara Askew – “The Road to the Crown”: - Great Britain and the Hanoverian Dynasty
This lecture explains how the ruler of a relatively small German state came to be crowned king of Great Britain in 1714 and examines the Personal Union between the two countries which lasted until 1837. The royal residences and the cross-cultural transfer in art, music, literature and horticulture are all discussed. An account is given of what the Hanoverian kings did for Great Britain, George IV’s spectacular visit as King of Hanover and finally what happened to Hanover when the Personal Union came to an end.
Monday, 26 November 2018
Julia Korner – The Beauty of Frames – a brief history together with their design and construction, their conservation, and how to choose the right frame for your pictures
The talk explores the history of frames, and how frames have developed in Europe, influenced often by prevailing architectural styles. The lecture looks at how frames are constructed and conserved; and how a frame can transform a painting and display it to its best advantage. The choice of a frame is a very personal one and primarily to complement a picture, but there are certain guidelines which may be helpful: for example, the balance between frame & picture. Choosing the right frame will enhance enjoyment & value of a picture; choosing the wrong frame may reduce both enjoyment & value. Julia discusses why a picture normally needs a frame; how to protect a picture from the dangers of light and temperature etc., the design, construction and conservation of frames; and the process of making gold leaf and gesso frames and how they are conserved